Maybe you missed reports of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bullying a public school teacher at a campaign rally a few days before he cruised to victory on Election Day. The teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, asked Christie why he has referred to NJ public schools as “failure factories.” The XXXX-sized champion of privatization shouted, “What do you people want?” Tomlinson told him teachers want more money budgeted for students. A “heated discussion” followed.
Tomlinson wrote a long letter to Christie the next day. An excerpt:
Getting back to the issue of money. I am fully aware of our educational budget. Where is all of this money? To me it seems like it is being siphoned right off into the hands of private companies as they reap the benefits of the charter schools and voucher programs that you have put into place. It certainly hasn’t gone to improve school conditions in urban areas such as Jersey City. The conditions that these students and teachers are forced to be in are horrifying. Yet you are not allowing the funds needed to improve these conditions. Are you hoping that these schools get closed down and more students are forced to go to private charter schools while the districts are being forced to pay their tuition? I know for a fact that this is what has happened in Camden and Newark. Yet these charter schools are not held to the same accountability as our public schools. Why is that? Because deep down you know that you are not really dealing with the issues that influence a child’s education. You are simply putting a temporary band-aid into place. Unfortunately that temporary fix is already starting to be exposed as Charter Schools are showing that they actually are not able to do better than public schools.
The sentences I bolded also describe the situation in my state, PA, where Gov. Tom Corbett is working as hard as Christie to strangle teachers’ unions and privatize education. Both phonies have the same agenda – to enrich large-scale campaign donors and other cronies at the expense of teachers and schoolchildren. The difference between them is that Christie has his eye on the presidential nomination and therefore uses the compliant mainstream media to portray himself as a moderate. Democrats who think Christie can’t get the nomination because he doesn’t have enough cred with the Tea Party are really, really stupid. As AlterNet noted last winter, “…You can piss off some of the people some of the time, just so long as you don’t rock the billionaires’ boats.”
Footnote: Moron or monster? The latter, in Christie’s case. He was sharp enough to somehow demonize schoolteachers and firefighters in his successful first-term efforts to boost his profile (I know, poor choice of words) and the interests of his wealthy backers.